Memorial Day Memories in Yosemite

Yosemite is perhaps one of the most beautiful places on the planet.  In 2007 we spent Labor Day week-end in Yosemite and had fabulous time. This year, we both agreed: it was time to return.  For this trip, we decided not to rough it at all. Instead, we stayed at the Tenaya Lodge at the southern end of Yosemite Valley.  The Tenaya Lodge was a bit down in the dumps from our last stay there but still a far cry from roughing it! (See my review on Trip Advisor for details.)

On our first full day in Yosemite, we braved the 7.6-mile round trip hike to Stanford Point. The majority of the 3.8 miles to Stanford Point is uphill with a 2200-feet elevation gain from 6039 feet to 8239 feet.   Brian let me choose the hike, kindly stating, “You decide on the hike, Elizabeth.” During the hike, Brian said a few other (choice) things as we climbed and climbed and climbed and climbed and climbed and climbed…

On our way to Stanford Point.  We always hit the trail with our favorite guide, California Hiking.
On our way to Stanford Point. We always hit the trail with our favorite guide, California Hiking by Tom Stienstra and Ann Marie Brown.

While not the easiest hike for us, we did make it to the top and what a view!  It was worth every tortured step.  What was so special about this hike was that we had the trail to ourselves most of the time.  You don’t have to go very far off the main trails in Yosemite to leave the maddening crowds behind you.

Our 8600-feet view
Our 8239-feet view. Breathtaking.


Brian, the proud climber: 2000 feet in four miles. Wow!
Brian at Stanford Point. It was much easier for him to smile with the 2200-feet climb behind him.
Post-hike cocktails
Most deserved post-hike cocktails. A margarita for me and a Packer’s Mule (a variation of the Moscow Mule) for Brian.  The Tenaya does make an excellent margarita!

The next day we took it easy and enjoyed a pleasant self-guided rafting trip down the Merced River.  You can rent a raft in Curry Village.  Be sure to get there as close to 10am (when the shop opens) as possible as it does get busy.  As of this writing, rafting is closed for the 2014 season. It takes two hours to complete the three-mile trip. Many people make a day of it, picnicking, swimming, and sunbathing along the beautiful banks of the Merced River.

the river raft down the Truckee River.
Me with Half-Dome in the background.  One of Mother Nature’s most adored celebrities!
The lovely Truckee River.
The lovely Merced River.

We finished our leisurely day in Yosemite, with, of course, cocktails! We enjoyed the sunset, appetizers, and the delightfully bright sauvignon blanc, Chateau Crisp. It was available at Safeway stores but due to its popularity the 2012 Chateau Crisp is no longer available! We were lucky to have enjoyed it when we did (responsibly, of course! NO drinking and driving).

Chateau Crisp and the Yosemite Valley floor
Enjoying a glass of Chateau Crisp with the Merced river and Yosemite’s granite cliffs in the background.  Could there be a more perfect cocktail lounge for the cocktail camper?


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